Hereford Is the Pothole Capital of England, New Study Finds

  • Relative to its population, Hereford is the pothole capital of England
  • Glasgow has the highest number of potholes per capita of all cities in Britain
  • London fared relatively well overall, though Barnet is worse than Glasgow, with 12 potholes per 1,000 residents
  • Bath, Peterborough and Bristol have the most responsive councils in Britain to pothole issues
  • The lowest rates of fixed potholes in England are in Manchester and Birmingham
  • Across Britain, city councils tend to fix only four in ten potholes

Hereford is the pothole capital of England, new research has found. There is one pothole reported for every 127th resident. In London, this title goes to Barnet. In Britain, Glasgow steals the top spot with one reported pothole for every 86th Glaswegian.

Among cities with at least 100 reported potholes, Manchester and Birmingham have the lowest rates of fixed reported potholes in England. Meanwhile, Bath, Peterborough and Bristol authorities have the most responsive councils when dealing with such issues.

This is according to a new study from data collection experts at SmartSurvey, who analysed the reports of potholes registered via FixMyStreet.com for 69 cities across England, Scotland and Wales. Since some residents use the FixMyStreet platform more than others, fix rates were evaluated only for the cities with at least 100 reports registered since 2007, when the platform was launched, until January 29th, 2024.

Pothole capitals

Hereford is the pothole capital of England and the third-worst city in Britain for reported pothole, based on the number of reports compared against its population.

Although much smaller in size compared to all the other cities in the top ten worst for potholes per capita, Hereford roads are covered in an unusually high number of holes (421) relative to the number of its inhabitants (53,100).

There are 7.9 reported potholes that remain unfixed to date for every 1,000 Hereford residents.

On the bright side, the local authorities are much more responsive compared to those in other ‚Äúpothole capitals‚ÄĚ in Britain. They tend to fix every other pothole reported to them.

Glasgow is Britain‚Äôs pothole capital among cities. Since 2007, Glaswegians filed 9,780 reports of potholes, of which only 2,372 had been marked as ‚Äúfixed‚ÄĚ until January 12th this year. The remaining 7,408 reports are spread rather evenly across the entire city of 635,130 inhabitants. This is the equivalent of 11.7 yet unfixed reported potholes for every 1,000 residents. The local authorities have a 24.25% fix rate when it comes to pothole reports.

In Wales, Wrexham is the pothole-riddled city. Over the past 13 years, the log of all reports on the site indicates that the local council has addressed only one in four reports of potholes. Today, the 135,117 locals still cope with 795 potholes across the city.

City dwellers across Britain filed almost 100,000 pothole reports on the FixMyStreet platforms. Councils tend to fix only four in ten potholes, based on average rates in cities with the most proactive residents. As at January 29th, 2024, 60,825 reported potholes across all of Britain’s cities are still marked as unfixed.

The region with the most city potholes per capita is South Scotland. On average, one should expect to spot a pothole once for every 211 inhabitants. This drives up the statistics for the whole of Scotland, making it the worst country for unresolved city-road pothole complaints.

Top 10 Pothole Capitals in Britain

#CityPotholes unfixed per 1,000 residentsFix rate (%)
1Glasgow11.724.25
2Edinburgh8.222.25
3Hereford7.950.24
4Southampton7.331.65
5Wrexham5.926.93
6Stoke-on-Trent5.737.28
7Sheffield5.537.73
8Manchester5.419.18
9Birmingham5.124.07
10Swansea5.024.26


Barnet is the pothole capital of London

London fared relatively well overall, averaging 1.7 reported potholes per 1,000 residents. Across the 32 boroughs and the City of London, Barnet was, by far, the absolute worst not only in London, but in Britain.

With 4,656 reported potholes as at January 29th, 2024, Barnet averages to 12 potholes per 1,000 residents, which is even worse than Glasgow. At quite the distance, the next worst areas in London are Richmond and Kingston, with 2.6 potholes reported per 1,000 residents each.

As for fix rates, among areas with at least 100 reported potholes, Lewisham council is easily the most responsive: they fixed 98.45% of the reported potholes. It is followed by the City of London (94.34%) and Bromley (91.21%). The most unresponsive councils with regards to fixing potholes are Westminster (4.17%), Hammersmith and Fulham (19.48%), Tower Hamlets (20.14%) and Barking and Dagenham (20.30%).

Overall, London counts 14,593 reported potholes still marked as unfixed. Another 11,572 potholes have been resolved. This means that the fix rate for potholes in London is 44.23%, thus less than half the reported potholes get fixed. On average, there are 1.7 potholes reported per 1,000 residents.

Top 10 Pothole-Riddled Boroughs in London

#CityPotholes unfixed per 1,000 residentsFix rate (%)
1Barnet1232.36
2Richmond upon Thames2.628.61
3Kingston upon Thames2.643.38
4Croydon2.533.87
5Bexley2.463.56
6Lambeth2.336.32
7Hillingdon2.122.79
8Brent2.139.24
9Islington2.043.38
10Enfield1.934.43


Most Responsive City Councils in Britain

Bath authorities are the most responsive city council in Britain when it comes to addressing pothole issues. Residents appear to have started reporting potholes online from 2018, 97.77% of which were fixed. Of the 719 potholes registered over the past six years in Bath, only 12 remained unresolved as at January 12th, 2024. There is currently only one pothole for every 5,838 Bath residents, in a city of 95,000 inhabitants.

Inching closely behind with an impressive fix rate of 93.89%, Peterborough authorities are Britain‚Äôs second most responsive city council. Peterborough residents are some of the most proactive city dwellers in the country, and local authorities appear happy to oblige. This medium-sized city in Eastern England, with 215,673 inhabitants, dealt with 2,242 potholes reported over the past 17 years. Only 137 of them remained unfixed as at January 12th, 2024.

Nearly half a million people live in Bristol. They started reporting pothole issues online in 2017. Until January 12th, 2024, the council had addressed four in five of these reports. This is the third-highest response rate of all cities in Britain. Bristolians registered 1,420 pothole issues over the past seven years, of which 297 remain unaddressed to date.

Top 10 Most Responsive Local Authorities outside London to Pothole Reports 

#CityFix rate of potholes %Total reported potholes
1Bath97.77719
2Peterborough93.892242
3Bristol79.081420
4Truro64.46121
5Durham62.40125
6Wakefield57.751820
7York53.911035
8Hereford50.24846
9Nottingham41.94341
10Brighton & Hove40.60734

Mo Naser, SmartSurvey CEO, comments: “One could argue that bigger cities have more issues to attend to, but they also have bigger budgets and more staff to deal with them. For instance, Truro is a tiny cathedral city, but the council fixes two in three reported potholes. This is the fourth-highest response rate of all the cities with at least 100 reports registered on the FixMyStreet platform.

‚ÄúBristol, on the other hand, is the tenth biggest city in the UK, yet the authorities have managed to fix four in five reported potholes. Bath and Peterborough councils excel at responding to pothole issues. Why do Bath, Peterborough, Bristol and Truro, whose populations and filed reports vary so widely, succeed while cities of comparable sizes to each of them struggle?‚ÄĚ

The study was conducted by SmartSurvey, a leading UK digital surveying platform.